Water Your Seeds: Life Lessons from Mary McLeod Bethune + FB Live Video

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and her students.

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and her students.

No matter what you face in life, never stop watering your seeds. Your seed is that gift, that talent, that love that you were born with.

Often we get discouraged when our larger goals or dreams are not immediately achieved. This is one of the issues that I have with vision boards. It’s great to have a vision. However, sometimes proponents of vision boards make us place too much focus on larger dreams, (ie becoming the next Ava Duvernay or Oprah Winfrey) instead of encouraging people to focus on the smaller next steps that can be achieved on a daily basis.

It’s hard to not get discouraged when you're working a dead-end job but your dream board says, “Next World Conqueror!”

The truth is, you’re not going to be the next Ava Duvernay or Jordan Peele tomorrow. It took time for them to get where they are. The truth is, in order to achieve your larger dreams, it takes time, patience, and most of all endurance. It takes not allowing life’s hardships to stop you in your tracks or get you overly discouraged. The best thing you can do is just continue to water your seeds - even if it’s a few drops at a time.

One of the best examples of this is the life of Mary McLeod Bethune. She was the daughter of enslaved Africans. She grew up picking hundreds of pounds of cotton, yet she always dreamed of being an educator. In fact, one of her goals was to become a missionary and teach in Africa. After completing teaching school, Bethune was ready to go abroad but churches wouldn’t sponsor her.

They didn’t want to send a Black woman teacher to Africa.

This was a huge setback. But she started a school for girls anyway. It was called the Daytona Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls. She launched her own fundraising campaign - without the help of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or GoFundMe. She even baked and sold sweet potato pies to raise funds for her school. She did all of this in the early 1900s.

Imagine a Black woman in the South starting her own school during that time period.

I’m sure at times she was discouraged but she never stopped watering her seeds. Eventually, her girls' school merged with another school. It would go on to grow and become one of the most well-known HBCUs in the country - Bethune-Cookman University. Her endurance led to a legacy that has educated generations of Black children across the U.S. and beyond. Thousands have been educated due to the sheer willpower and endurance of Dr. Bethune. And it never would have happened if she stopped watering her seed, which was her passion for education.

The West African concept of Sankofa teaches us to “look back” in order to move forward. In this case, looking back at the life work of Mary McLeod Bethune can provide a valuable life lesson on passion, endurance, and consistency.

If you have a life passion or goal, be like Dr. Bethune. Keep watering your seeds, even if it’s only a few drops at a time. Be patient and stay consistent.

  • Jessica Ann Mitchell Aiwuyor

In case you missed it, check out my FB Live about this topic!
I start talking about watering your seeds at the :50 second mark.